Single Keyword Ad Groups – Why They Are Important


Single keyword ad groups, what a mouth full. But don’t you worry, of course, there is an acronym for it — SKAGs. However, I’m not sure that sounds any better off the tongue.

SKAGs is a paid media campaign strategy that is laser-focused on two items: increase keyword quality score and improve click-through rate (CTR). The theory behind it states that if these two factors can see better results, then cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-acquisition (CPA) will drop.

This is accomplished by building out several campaigns, featuring multiple ad groups that zero in on one specific keyword or keyword phrase. The end goal with a SKAGs strategy is to produce a 1:1 ratio for your keywords and ads — ensuring that your ads populate for those detailed keywords. Not only does this enhance the user experience by showing more relevant ads for their query, but it also provides campaign managers a greater degree of control.

While on paper SKAGs appears to be a great idea, the strategy certainly has naysayers and drawbacks.

It goes against Google recommendations

Google offers a lot of best practices for users of its platform. From PPC to SEO, they provide their community with great resources when it comes to succeeding in the search engine environment. Google regularly recommends when building a campaign, that ad groups contain anywhere from 5 to 20 keywords. While Google isn’t the gospel, it is worth noting their suggestions.


Setting up SKAGs is extremely time-consuming and tedious. Creating numerous individual ad groups for each keyword takes time, and managing those ad groups during an ongoing campaign further exacerbates the commitment.

Must be good with Google Ads editor

Making changes and adjustments to the differing ad sets (modified broad match, phrase match, exact match) requires in-depth ad campaign knowledge and experience. SKAGs are not the easiest option for getting your feet wet with Google Ads.

Possible waste of time

There are case studies that show quality score and CTR results are just as obtainable without the SKAGs model. Therefore, in the long-run, the time investment might be inefficient.

Little benefit for small campaigns

For smaller-scale campaigns, which feature fewer keywords, the upside to SKAGs probably doesn’t outweigh the downsides.

Okay, so now to completely contradict those five points, let’s dive deeper into the SKAGs model and explain (under the right circumstances) why it is a smart play.

Why SKAGs Work

SKAGs works for a number of different reasons, but everything comes back to having more control over your account. Yes, it takes more time to build out, but if your campaign works better isn’t that worth it?

To start, SKAGs works because you are matching your keywords to the search terms. Depending on the match types in your account you could be paying for clicks that are wildly different from your search terms. But how would you know?

You would have to take a dive deep into your search queries and sift through all keywords in each ad group — and what triggered them. Another way is going ad group by ad group, identifying each search term that triggered your ad.

It was mentioned earlier, but increasing your quality score is a major dividend attached to SKAGs. Who wants to pay more than necessary for clicks? When your keywords match search terms you will see more users clicking on your ads — improving your CTR. With CTR carrying significant weight in the determination of quality score, improving your CTR will, in the end, drop your CPC.

Let’s also not forget the ability for continuous campaign growth. When you utilize SKAGs, you can constantly monitor your search queries and add relevant search terms into new ad groups. If you want a high performing campaign that produces better CPC, then investing the time to build out and monitor SKAGs can produce a noticeable payout.

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